*This post is sponsored by Scribd
I feel so lucky to be partnering with Scribd again to share a few of my favorite summer reads and an incredible giveaway they are offering for our readers so you can start tackling your own summer reading with their fantastic service.
I have really been enjoying my own Scribd membership over this year and, in fact, loved it so much that I gave it to my Dad for a birthday gift this year. It’s one of those services that I genuinely enjoyed that I just had to share it with my fellow book lovers.
Have you heard of Scribd? If you missed my last post about Scribd, it is an eBook service that works a lot like Netflix, but for books. You pay a low membership fee of $8.99 per month and can read as many books as you want on all of your major ebook reading devices like iPhone, iPad, iOS, Android & the Kindle Fire tablet. It also offers page syncing so you can move from device to device and simply pick up where you left off.
With Scribd you have unlimited access to over 400,000 books (and counting!) from nearly 1,000 publishers including HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Kensington, Open Road Media, & New World Library. The catalog includes fiction books, nonfiction books (like cookbooks), young adult books, and children’s books. Basically, your entire family can benefit from this service, all with the cost of just one membership. I can think of no better gift to give yourself this summer!
For today’s post, I scoured the Scribd site to pull together for you a few of my favorite summer reads that I have enjoyed so much and I am also sharing what I would love to read this summer while I am sitting in my shady spot (I am awfully pale!) by the community pool!
Books I Recommend for Your Summer Reading List on Scribd:
Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
I have to say that this book is one of my favorite reads this summer, simply because it is deliciously fast-paced chick-lit at its finest.
Anne Blythe seems to have everything. She has sold her first book, has a fabulous life, and fabulous friends. When it comes to being lucky in love though, she can’t seem to ever find the right guy. novel. After her best friend announces her engagement and her latest relationship ends, she decides to take a risk and contact a dating service in hopes of finding the perfect match. Upon her first appointment with the dating service though, she realizes that it is not a dating service at all, but a matchmaking service for an arranged marriage.
Once she starts the process, there is no turning back and Anne finds herself traveling to a Mexican resort where she will meet and marry (all in the same weekend) her “perfect,” guy.
This book has great twists and turns that you will really enjoy and after devouring this book in a mere day, I can’t recommend it enough for a fun reading escape!
Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
If you are looking for a psychological thriller that will have you guessing until the very last page what is happening, then I have the book for you. This is the best thriller that I have read this year and can hardly believe that it is the author’s first book.
Every single day Christine wakes up not knowing who she is, where she is, and who her husband is. It is the same scenario every day as she makes her way to the bathroom, where pictures are layered upon the mirror that explain who she is and who her husband is. Each day she must go through the heartbreaking discovery that she has had a terrible accident that has caused her to have permanent amnesia. People she thinks are alive have died. She can’t remember if she is a mother. She doesn’t know why she doesn’t have any friends. Some days she wakes up and she believes she is in her twenties and cannot even recognize the woman who looks at her in the mirror.
When Christine begins meeting with a doctor, he encourages her to begin journaling each day to help jog her memory of what has been happening in her daily life. As each day opens, Christine opens her journal and begins to read and as she reads, she begins to discover that the life that she is leading might not be all that it seems to be. As Christine becomes more and more aware of her story and begins to challenge the information that her husband is feeding to her about what has happened, the reader is left wondering if Christine is obsessing about details because she can’t really recall them or if the stories she is hearing are even real?
If you read one thriller this year, let it be this one. I promise you, it is truly amazing and will leave you stunned when you read the final pages. I can’t wait to read more from this author.
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Mudbound is storytelling at its very best and offers a beautifully rendered portrayal of race and politics in the South during the forties. This book is told from alternating points of view and shares the story of a Memphis-bred Laura McAllan who is struggling to adjust to being a farmer’s wife and living the idyllic dream that her husband Henry has for them to live off their own land. When Henry makes an error by trusting a handshake rather than a contract on the home they are renting, they find themselves living in less than ideal conditions in a shack that Henry had hoped to turn into his dream house. Laura not only must deal with the difficulties of living in this shack, but she has to do it with her racist father-in-law constantly judging and spewing hate at her.
As Laura struggles with this, the real story unfolds when Henry’s brother Jamie returns home from the war. Always the favored one, Jamie comes home as a raging alcoholic, struggling with nightmares and post-traumatic stress from the war he left. Ronsel, a son of the sharecroppers who have been hired to work on Henry & Laura’s land, also struggles with leaving the war after being a hero in fighting for his country; he is now seen as just a black boy and treated with only racism and hatred.
When a horrible crime is committed, the four lives of these main characters are woven into one and the reader is taken along on the journey every harrowing step of the way. Twist after twist creates a plot that illustrates racism in a very unique way.
This book is a fast-paced read, that will shock and grip you until the final pages. Not for the faint of heart- a great debut novel from Hillary Jordan worthy of the 2006 Bellwether Prize that she won for this.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
This is an oldie, but a goodie! I actually waited a long time to read this one, but I think I savored it even more! The book opens with Jacob Janowski who is ninety (or ninety-three, a fact he can’t remember) and now living in a nursing home. His days are now spent being shuffled from his room to the dining area, suffering from the everyday minutiae of life in a nursing home. Of course, his life wasn’t always like this, in fact, Jacob’s life was spent with a traveling circus after the untimely death of his parents. Circus life was a hard life for Jacob and one that he jumped to unknowingly when he boarded a train to escape after his parent’s death.
Gruen’s writing is as vivid as a movie screen as the reader is swept away into the hard and difficult life of being a part of the traveling circus during the Great Depression. When Jacob is appointed to veterinarian, he has a difficult role under August, a paranoid schizophrenic, who acts as the animal trainer of the circus. The reader is swept into the sad life of the animals and the repeated abuse that August inflicts on the animals.
The only sparkle of light in Jacob’s life is Marlena, a beautiful performer in the circus, who Jacob cannot stop thinking about. Sadly, it is August’s wife that he has fallen in love with, and the reader will sit on the edge of their seat as Jacob risks it all to free Marlena from the abusive life that she has been leading with August.
More than a love story, it is an unbelievably well-researched look into the life of the circus at this time, and a love story of how Jacob & Marlena fall in love with an elephant named Rosie who makes a reader’s heart melt in her beauty. Equally impressive is how Gruen is able to capture the life of the elderly as Jacob reminisces and longs for his youth. The ending is perhaps a little too neatly woven, but is a satisfying conclusion to it all as a reader!
Vivid, descriptive, cinematic, raw, chilling… I felt as though I was on a roller coaster just reading this one! Definitely give this one a read before hitting the movie theater! Let’s hope the movie is half as good as this book!
Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
I can’t believe that I didn’t review this book sooner for you all! I am a HUGE Catherine McKenzie fan and this one is another excellent beach read that you won’t be able to put down.
Emma Tupper is a dedicated lawyer with a bright future. But when she takes a month-long leave of absence to go on an African vacation, she ends up facing unexpected consequences. After she falls ill and spends six months trapped in a remote village thanks to a devastating earthquake, Emma returns home to discover that her friends, boyfriend, and colleagues thought she was dead–and that her life has moved on without her.
As she struggles to re-create her old life, throwing herself into solving a big case for a client and trying to reclaim her beloved apartment from the handsome photographer who assumed her lease, everyone around her thinks she should take the opportunity to change. But is she willing to sacrifice her job, her relationships, and everything else she worked so hard to build?
In “Forgotten,” Catherine McKenzie tweaks a classic tale of discovering who we really are when everything that brings meaning to our lives is lost.
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
Imagine if your sins were on display for the entire world to see? Hillary Jordan creates a futuristic spin on how society would look if our skin was colored based on the crime we committed. The story follows Hannah Payne who has recently been, “chromed,” and is red because she has committed murder. Hannah knows that this is the cross that she must bear for her crimes, but she has no idea how horrible her life will be now that society knows the sins she has committed.
Hannah was always a good girl and was raised in a very conservative family where it was even frowned up on to wear anything with color or that would draw attention to her natural beauty. The climate of the government also leans towards conservative views and the laws go along with the government views of what is right and wrong in this dystopian society. She has always been a girl that has done the right thing, but she falls in love with a married man who sweeps her off her feet and causes her to make a decision that she will now spend the remainder of her sentence paying for. To protect the future of the prominent man that she has fallen in love with, she must bear the burden alone and is now melachromed for her actions for all the world to see.
When an extremist underground group tries to help Hannah and reverse the chroming that has been done to her, the reader is taken on a thrilling journey as Hannah risks her safety and life for the crime she has committed.
Hillary Jordan could not have picked a book concept further from her fantastic debut, “Mudbound.” This book would lend itself well to book club discussions as it flips every political debate on its head. From abortion to women’s rights to Christianity to punishment for one’s crimes, no political rock is left unturned. While one might not agree with Hannah’s viewpoint or those of the extremist views of the underground group, the concept of chroming is rich with discussion and a true modern day take on, “The Scarlet Letter.”
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow
I love debut novelists and the first book that I read on Scribd was The Girl Who Fell From the Sky. This book deals with big topics like race identity and where we fit in the world when we are biracial. Rachel is the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I. who becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy. With her strict African American grandmother as her new guardian, Rachel moves to a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring mixed attention her way. Growing up in the 1980s, she learns to swallow her overwhelming grief and confronts her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white.
Faith by Jennifer Haigh
Faith is a masterpiece of literature that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. The novel does have a slow build as it shares a bit about the history and the scandal of 2002 when many Boston priests were accused of molestation in the Catholic Church, but the story is worth the plot set up and is a book that you will want to share and discuss with your friends.
Art is the apple of his mother’s eye and is wholly committed to dedicating his life to God from the time he is a child and on. He lovingly serves his church and feels great satisfaction in his work as a priest. When suddenly he is thrust into the spotlight and is accused of molesting a child that he has grown close to through his work in the church, he is devastated as his life is under scrutiny by the media, by other church members, by other priests, and by his family.
While some in his family side with him, others do not. When shocking discoveries are made into his past and the relationship that he has had with the little boy, the reader must examine which side they might be on and see both sides of the coin as his family comes to terms with these accusations. How would you feel if your son, your brother, or the person you trusted in your church was accused of such an act? Could you stand beside them or would you shun them even if they told you they would never do such a thing?
Haigh’s writing is exquisitely rich and the story is told through a fresh set of eyes from the scandal that we witnessed in the media. Haigh brings in an angle that led me to believe that there truly are two sides to every story.
Spin by Catherine McKenzie
I would be remiss if I didn’t include one more book by Catherine. Her books are the perfect addition to your beach bag and this past month, she came up with a sequel to this book that I am dying to pick up. Although I don’t see the sequel listed on Scribd yet, you must read this first book and get ready for it because it is such a fun escape!
When Kate Sandford lands an interview at her favorite music magazine, The Line, it’s the chance of a lifetime. So Kate goes out to celebrate—and shows up still drunk to the interview the next morning. It’s no surprise that she doesn’t get the job, but her performance has convinced the editors that she’d be perfect for an undercover assignment for their gossip rag. All Kate has to do is follow “It Girl” Amber Sheppard into rehab. If she can get the inside scoop—and complete the thirty-day program—they’ll reconsider her for the position at The Line. Kate takes the assignment, but when real friendships start to develop, she has to decide if what she has to gain is worth the price she’ll have to pay.
Fun, fast-paced, and one I couldn’t put down- you will love it!
Now that you have some tried-and-true ideas for your summer reading, here are nine books I am dying to read on Scribd this summer. Maybe you can read along with me?
The Condition by Jennifer Haigh
The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Unless by Carol Shields
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
In celebration of summer reading, Scribd is offering EVERY MomAdvice a free three month trial membership by using our exclusive access code. To access your free membership head HERE and then input the following code: momadvice0614. I’m so excited for you to try this service and I just know that you will love it as much as I do! Leave us a comment and let us know what you are excited to read on Scribd!
This post is sponsored by Scribd. I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and effort in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.